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Why Pregnant Jenna Fischer Wasn’t Offended by The Office Episode, "Pam's Replacement"
Talk about representation in the writer's room!
If you’re a fan of The Office, you likely already know that Peacock is the place to stream all nine seasons of the hit NBC show, as well as a collection of “Superfan” episodes featuring extended cuts with new bonus scenes. But if you’re really a superfan, then you also need to be listening to the Office Ladies podcast, where cast members Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly) and Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) are in the process of breaking down all 201 episodes of the long-running show.
The latest episode of the podcast delivers the inside goods about “Pam’s Replacement,” the seventh episode of the eighth season, which features pregnant Pam worrying that Jim (John Krasinski) may be crushing on Cathy (Lindsey Broad), Pam’s temp replacement at Dunder Mifflin. They even test Jim to see which friend he might set Cathy up with, but his choice of the bland Mike Tibbets provides no answers. There’s also a B-story about CEO Robert California (James Spader) usurping Andy (Ed Helms), Kevin (Brian Baumgartner), and Darryl’s (Craig Robinson) band, working title Kevin and the Zits.
Of course, Fischer was actually pregnant while filming the episode, but she wasn’t the only pregnant person giving authenticity to the show. “Pam’s Replacement” was the first Office episode written by Allison Silverman Jones, who was pregnant herself while writing it (she would also go on to be the first mom in the show’s writers room). Fischer and Kinsey note in the podcast how important that was to both of them, and also how gratifying it was to see an actual pregnant person on the show itself.
“My pregnancy was not shown, they got really creative in hiding it, but I thought this was so great to see a real woman, really pregnant,” Kinsey says at about the 5:45 mark of the podcast.
How "Pam's Replacement" broke new ground for The Office
“And Alison and I talked about that,” added Fischer. “One of the great things about having a person who was pregnant write this episode, was that we got it. … Talk about representation in the writer’s room!”
A fan, Ashley K. in Missouri, wrote in to ask if Fischer ever had her feelings hurt by some of the “insensitive” jokes about pregnancy in "Pam's Replacement."
“I’ll tell you what, Ashley, I did not. I thought that this episode was so well written and so beautifully highlighted some of those insecurities that you might have, and actually speaking honestly about them – which is really what Pam wants in this episode, when everybody is just feeding her a bunch of bull, she knows it. And she’s like, ‘No, we can just talk about me. I’m still like a person who is in reality,’” Fischer replied. “Overall, my feelings were not hurt by anything that was said, and I loved this episode.”
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There’s plenty to love about the episode, and about the podcast as well, which later on (around the 55-minute mark) features Rainn Wilson discussing Dwight’s famous crotch test to really see how Jim feels about that new temp. Enquiring minds want to know!
Stream all nine seasons of The Office on Peacock!